My latest addiction comes in the form of cold, creamy goodness. And if you're a gelato enthusiast, you need to get on the Gelato Messina bandwagon. Immediately.
I used to be absolutely smitten with Wowcow, which incidentally is just down the road from Messina, but once we heard about the burger in gelato form, our regular froyo missions at Wowcow (read more on Wowcow in my "Best Desserts in Sydney" article) turned into excessive consumption of gelato.
The Gelato Messina store in Darlinghurst is often spilling out onto the footpath. You'll be lucky if you can get a seat in this tiny store. Right next door is the Messina Laboratorio & Patisserie, which opened late last year, introducing single dessert pieces - made of gelato of course.
The Royale w/ Cheese is by far the most elaborate and aesthetically impressive gelato cake available at the Messina Lab. It's made of chocolate crackle gelato, financier bun, white chocolate gelato & apricot gelee, compressed cucumber, white chocolate slice
I really enjoyed the Bombe Alaska, which contains hazelnut gelato, white chocolate & hazelnut croccantino and is enveloped in torched Italian meringue. Deliciously nutty and with a wonderful mix of textures, I'd definitely have this one again.
The Mini Me is probably the best one in the Messina Lab cabinet. Made with Dr. Evil chocolate gelato, dulce de leche jam, peanut butter cookie, vanilla gelato and popping candy & feuilletine, the Mini Me is in the shape of a super-cute mushroom. The popping candy base is such an innovative and interesting, and not to mention delicious, addition.
Another favourite is the Bitty... Bitty!!! which is a breast-shaped dessert made of salted caramel gelato, caramel & milk chocolate puffed rice crackle, vodka flavoured milk and a white chocolate coating. There isn't anything in this little piece of yumminess that I don't enjoy.
The Slivkova Pavlova, on the other hand, isn't as enjoyable. Compared to the other pieces, the pavlova doesn't have the wow factor in terms of flavour combinations. That's not to say it's a bad dessert; I think I was just so in awe from some of the other choices, so it fell a bit short. The Slivkova Pavlova is a concoction of vanilla gelato, freeze dried raspberries, passionfruit dusted meringue and raspberry gelee.
I think the most striking is the Samurai: yuzu sorbet with a salted caramel swirl encased in orange scented chocolate. I love sour flavours, but for some reason this dessert doesn't do it for me. Potentially because I'm not the biggest fan of mixing citrus flavours with chocolate. Nonetheless, it gets a special mention just for its awesome name and the blood spatter that adorns this popsicle gelato dish.
The Ugly Ball is my least favourite of all the Messina Lab pieces that we try. Consisting of manuka honey gelato, a lemon lime gelee centre, and rolled in tonka bean & feuilletine, the Ugly Ball isn't as impressive as our other picks. It's visually not very exciting (hence the name), but the flavours are also not that inspiring.
I find that the gelee centres in most of these desserts are a downfall, but perhaps this is a personal preference. The gelee hardens as it's encased in gelato, but I also find that the jelly-like texture doesn't compliment gelato or chocolate.
Now, let's address the amazing gelato flavours next door. Lately my absolute favourite has been the Little Bloke: peanut butter gelato with Nutella and malt biscuits. This is a special though, so I hope it stays around for a little bit longer.
On Australia Day, Gelato Messina came up with some very interesting flavours. We tried the pavlova, lamington and tea & scones flavours. As well as the VB flavour, which was interesting to say the least. I don't like beer to begin with, but I was sure intrigued by the fact that they made beer into a gelato. Kudos to them.
On my very first visit to the Darlinghurst store I tried the yoghurt & caramel and passionfruit sorbet, both of which are to date still my favourites. The yoghurt gelatos (there are a few options on offer) are not as creamy or rich as something like Italian nougat or dulce de leche. It of course depends entirely on what kind of mood you're in - whether it's fruity, milky or nutty, Gelato Messina is mouthwateringly good every time I go.
Messina uses real ingredients, there's a wide range available all the time and clever new specials are always up on the chalkboard. Like Gelato Messina on Facebook to get updates on their special flavours.
Gelato Messina also opened at newly refurbished The Star, so now you can end your night of debauchery and gambling with a scoop or two of gelato.
Sunday to Thursday 12pm-11pm
Friday to Saturday 12pm-11.30pm
Laboratorio & Patisserie
Monday to Saturday 12pm-10pm
The Star Store
Monday to Thusday 11am-11pm
Friday to Saturday 11am-12pm
Wow is the word that comes to mind. All those little treats look so fantastic. It's so much fun seeing something that looks bizarre and then being able to taste and enjoy it, well hopefully the flavours evoke enjoyment. I'd say it would be the perfect place to go on a hot summers day, but they haven't really been showing their faces this so called summer. So as any excuse will do to indulge in dessert type delights, I shall have to take a look at this place whenever I get the chance.
Agree that the Royale with Cheese is definitely the most impressive in appearance but I was thrown by the description at the mention of compressed cucumber! Would make the texture of the dessert a little odd?
In Italy round scoops are never used for scooping out Gelati , flat spatulas only are used...it annoys me that in Australia most Gelati places are adopting this method of scooping out Gelati which is only meant for firm Ice Cream and is clearly a cost cutting measure as you get much less than you would with a spatula, damn why are we such scrooges in this country!!!!